So, you and I have a big job in front of us. It’s something no other group of humans in history can do.
You and I have to stop—or mitigate—climate change. We have to spare billions of people centuries of suffering.
It’s up to us. We can’t sit here looking dazed. We’ve got to act.
But you know what? We’re leaving something out.
We need to party.
I am a Burner, so I know what I’m talking about. Burning Man is giant, temporary city that a bunch of wild humans form in the Nevada desert every August. Burners build in crazed conditions, without access to a normal electrical grid or often many of the correct tools. We build in heat and dust and high winds. We work together, sometimes throwing hissy fits that embarrass us to remember later, when we realize we should have been drinking more water.
Then, when we’ve done the task before us, we stop and party like freaking rockstars. We drink expensive single malt scotch and dance on pirate ships sailing slowly through the desert. We also stop and party in the middle, if the task is going to take more than, say, twelve hours. I’m guessing stopping climate change might take a while, so I’m going to lay on a few bottles.
While Burners work we blast music and wear goofy clothes. There’s nothing like building a camp or a giant piece of art in a tutu, or a hat with ears, or chaps. Or handling an impact driver in a utilikilt and thigh-high boots.
We have an excellent time doing really hard things. Then we stop and drink and dance and make music and play with fire and do whatever brings us joy.
That’s what we have to do here, my fellow humans. We have to change the way we think and live and change the way others do the same. We have to do it now because our governments are not moving fast enough. The seas are rising and the skies are changing and we can still stop it from going completely over the top.
And we have to party like rockstars to get it done.
I think that hard work and hedonism are the only things that are going to get us through this.
We can start with the book The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future. I don’t normally recommend books on serious subjects because so often they offer paralysis instead of solutions. In this book, however, authors Oreskes and Conway offer a road map to the place we are headed, and from this we can use our own creativity and knowledge of the ground before us to change that road.
Because the future we face is so mind-numbingly terrifying, I suggest you use your resources to read this book: read it when you know you’re going to have a hot date later, or you have good friends waiting for you down the pub. Or buy it and a bottle of bath oil at the same time. Use your means to care for yourself so you can read it.
Then join me in acting. We might even have to work in heat and dust and high winds. We are definitely going to have to party.
As long as we’re doing it in hats with ears, and we stop to share a glass, we can get this done.
Where would you like to see us in twenty years? How do you think we can get there, and what are you planning to wear on the way?